Last week we (Alyson and I) had the extreme pleasure of attending Space 150’s DEEPSPACE STRATEGY: Modern Brand Building workshop. Adrian Ho from Zeus Jones, Dion Hughes of Persuasion Arts & Sciences and space150’s Paul Isakson spit some knowledge at a small crowd from an assortment of MPLS agencies.

What were the top three most interesting tidbits that floated to the top of the presentations and subsequent conversations? Thanks for asking.

One: Manners and Parties
Dion’s focus was on how modern brands should look at themselves like they’re guests at a party and how manners, courtesy, and the desire to leave a good (and lasting) impression can translate into a brand image. Our question: Do all brands want to be the life of the party and talk of the town (Consumer Goods), or do the rules of the party change if you are a different type of guest at a different type of party (BtoB)? Short answer: It’s less about being the life of the party and more about being the ideal guest. It may be OK to rock a lampshade on your head, if that what’s the frat party calls for. Other parties, however, may require more subtlety, manners, and conversation.

Two: Element of Time
This touched on the fact that digital media has extended the audience for brands and increased the importance of timing in brand messaging. Brands need the ability to react to the almost immediate fan feedback (and cynic backlash) that has become available with product and brand specific blogging. The point was made that there are certain limits on cognitive capital, and consumers will only blog about expensive items or those that play a important role in users lives. (It’s at this point, that the words “Apple” and “iPhone” were used a combined 247 times) Although we’ve been seeing plenty of product blogs that do not fit into one of those categories (i.e. Breakfast Cereal), it’s difficult to find a brand blog that does the same (i.e. Cheerios Blog).
Brands also need to rethink the term “first-to-market”. Paul explained how “If you don’t define your brand, someone else will”, illustrated in the Mac vs. PC (248) ads. This also includes beating your consumers to the digital space, or at least playing nice with them if they’ve beat you there.

Three: Advertising Community
Lastly, the workshop itself was evidence of the internal and external changing landscape of ad agencies. There seems to be a move toward a communal exchange of knowledge between advertising minds, especially in MPLS. This allows green planners to mix it up with experienced thinkers, while all can benefit from the occasional re-learning and re-vamping session, especially since new-and-improved branding practices have already given way to smarter-and-sleeker ones.